Penang Hill (Traditional/Simplified Chinese: 升旗山; Pinyin: Shēngqí Shān; Penang Hokkien: Seng3 Ki3 Snua1 ) is the oldest hill station in Malaysia.
Penang Hill comprises a hilly granite mass in the middle of Penang Island reaching an elevation of 833 meters (2723 ft) at Western Hill. Apart from Western Hill, the other peaks that form Penang Hill include Bukit Laksamana, Tiger Hill, Bukit Bendera and Bukit Kerajaan. Bukit Bendera, or Seng3 Ki3 Snua1 in Hokkien, is where the funicular railway station is located, is 735 m (2450 ft) above sea level. It was known as Flagstaff Hill by the British, because this was where the British flag used to be raised to signal that mail has come.
What's the deal, Penang Hill?
On 8 November, 2018, the Chief Minister of Penang announced plans to build to new hotels on Penang Hill. Together with members of AnakPinang, I journey to Penang Hill to meet Mr Cheok Lay Leng, the general manager of Penang Hill Corporation, to get details about the project.
If you are going by car, the main parking area is the Penang Hill Multi-Storey Car Park. The parking rates here are quite steep. As of February 2017, it is RM2 for the first hour and RM1 for the subsequent hour on Mondays to Fridays, and RM3 for the first hour and RM1 for the subsequent hour, for Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.
As of 1 January, 2018, the ticket fare for the Penang Hill Train is as follows:
Penang Hill Train Ticket Fare (6 January, 2018)
Penang Hill MyKad Rates (4 February, 2017)
Car Parking Rates at the Penang Hill Multi-Storey Car Park (4 February, 2017)
Penang Hill Funicular Train
I describe the Penang Hill Funicular Train in its own pages right here:
28 November, 2012
A roof canopy is being built between the Lower Station and the walkway to shelter visitors from the elements. As such the thoroughfare at the Lower Station is condoned off. For details, please go to www.penanghill.gov.my.
12 November, 2012
Due to construction works at the Penang Hill Lower Station, the thoroughfare will be condoned off from November 2012 until June 2013. For details, the public may contact 04-828 8880, 04-828 8839 and 04-828 8861.
26 January, 2012
The new food court, known as Astaka Bukit Bendera, opened to the public. It is also called Cliff Cafe.
It is said that Captain Francis Light was the first to plot a horse track up Penang Hill, way back in 1788. The route starts somewhere near the Botanical Gardens Waterfall. Penang Hill was first developed by the British to escape the tropical heat of the lowlands. During those early days, the lowlands were malaria infested, so Penang Hill was a choice for those seeking convalescence. Indeed a convalescent centre was built on Mount Hygeia for the officers of the British East India Company. It was cool, less humid, and most of all, free from malaria.
Very soon, the government departments were building hill bungalows for their senior officials. These are found mostly around Bukit Bendera. The northern part of Penang Hill is not well developed. Places such as Bukit Kerajaan and Bukit Timah are designated water catchment areas and so no development is permitted there.
Entrance of Bel Retiro, retreat for the king and prime minister of Malaysia (5 March, 2005)
During the colonial days, there was a form of segregation among the races. The most prestigious property was Bel Retiro, built in the 1800s as a resort for high govenment officials and visiting dignitaries. It was the favourite retreat of the first Yang di-Pertuan Agung and Tunku Abdul Rahman whenever they visit Penang. Building on the principle that proximity is next to greatness, the senior officers build their bungalows in proximity to Bel Retiro. During colonial time, no non-whites were allowed residences above the Viaduct station. Two locals whose properties came nearest the European boundaries were Khoo Sian Ewe and Chee War Lock, both Municipal Commissioners.
Just as it is fashionable today to own a luxurious condominium, during the early years of the 20th century, it was the in thing to own a bungalow on Penang Hill. Many of the properties owned by the Chinese were given decidedly Western names, for example Mon Sejour, Dolce Domum, Fairmont, Grace Dieu.
Bellevue Hotel, Penang Hill (3 May, 2005)
Hiking is a popular option to "conquer" Penang Hill. There is the 5 kilometer tarred road popularly called the "jeep track", which is open only to the vehicles of the hill residents. The most popular pit stops along this route are 52 and 84. Here, hikers can get refreshments prepared by volunteers.
There are numerous trails from the lowlands up Penang Hill. Among them are the ones from Moongate, another from inside the Botanical Gardens, yet another from the Air Itam Dam to Tiger Hill, one from Hye Keat Estate and another from the Youth Park.
A monkey cup at Monkey Cup Garden, Penang Hill (26 January, 2012)
Penang Hill is a popular place in Penang. Most people coming to Penang will want to go up Penang Hill. There are two ways to ascend the hill. The first is by using the Penang Hill train. Formerly this train is very slow, but now the government has installed new trains that can go faster.
There are people who climb Penang Hill using the hill road. This hill road start at the Penang Botanic Gardens. To climb, most people take an hour and a half to reach the top of Penang Hill.
Bungalows on Penang Hill
Bel Retiro: The most prestigious property on Penang Hill
The Penang Travel Tips website is a huge website that documents everything in Penang. On top of the hundreds of streets and tourist attractions, I also add in hundreds of shops and businesses.
If you operate a shop business in Penang, or anywhere in Malaysia or Singapore, contact me to add your business/shop into my website. It only a one-time fee, and your shop/business will be listed by location and category, helping your would-be customers find you. To find out more, CONTACT ME
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Local Guided Tours of Penang
If you are coming to Penang and need someone to show you around, I can arrange for you a licensed tour guide to take you around. Guides charge a fixed fee of RM360 for taking a small group of up to 10 people on 4-hour walking tours. Walking tours exceeding 4 hours is charged an additional RM90 per hour. Tours are tailored to guest requirement. For more details, contact tour coordinator. Other types of tours also available. For details, click here.
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What's the best way to see Penang on a budget? Take the bus! In Penang, there are at least 12 absolutely FREE bus routes which cover almost every major neighbourhood on Penang Island and Penang Mainland. All you need to do is hop aboard!
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